Democratic Movements (Steve Coll, January 31, 2011, The New Yorker)
“President of the Country,” a searing Arabic rap song, served as a soundtrack for the revolution. The week before Bouazizi’s death, Hamada Ben Amor, who is twenty-two and goes by the name El Général, used a handheld camera to tape himself singing the song, a baseball cap pulled over his eyes. “Mr. President,” he exclaimed, “your people are dead!” Al Jazeera and various social media picked up the video. The secret police arrested Ben Amor, inflaming his followers, and hastening Ben Ali’s exit.
Since then, diverse protesters have immolated themselves in Egypt, Algeria, and Mauritania. Muammar Qaddafi, in Libya, lamented the role of WikiLeaks, which, he said, “publishes information written by ly...
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